Texas Supreme Court approves arrest of Democrats who don’t show up to legislature

The Texas Supreme Court voided a district judge’s temporary restraining order that blocked the threat of arrest for Democratic lawmakers who fled the state to avoid doing their jobs.

“The Supreme Court of Texas swiftly rejected this dangerous attempt by Texas Democrats to undermine our Constitution and avoid doing the job they were elected to do,” said Governor Abbott’s spokeswoman, Renae Eze. “We look forward to the Supreme Court upholding the rule of law and stopping another stall tactic by the Texas Democrats.” 

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Governor Abbott threatened to arrest the nearly 60 Democratic lawmakers who fled the state to block Republicans from establishing a quorum required for the legislature to conduct business. The Democrats’ goal was to block the GOP-led election integrity law from passing.

The court’s ruling came after Abbott and House Speaker Dade Phelan petitioned the court on Monday to overturn the restraining order, meaning the lawmakers could all face arrest if they return from their month-long hiatus from the legislature.

Lawmakers who have already returned to Texas could be arrested if they refuse to return to the legislature to form a quorum on their own accord.

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We “would be going to a jail, we would be going to the House chambers where they would basically be forcing a quorum,” state Rep. Ron Reynolds (D) said in a video posted to Twitter. “They would take us against our will to the House floor.”

For a quorum, the legislature needs at least 51 Democratic lawmakers to return to Austin, a move many of the state’s Democrats are rejecting.

“We will continue to fight against the Republicans Voter Suppression bills,” Reynolds said. “We are planning on staying in D.C. advocating for federal voting rights legislation until the U.S. Senate goes on August recess towards the end of the week.”